Swansea City head coach Carlos Carvalhal has now managed 10 Premier League games since taking over from Paul Clement, so how does the Portuguese compare stats-wise with his recent predecessors, who were also tasked with keeping the Swans in the English top flight.
Garry Monk was the first man to be given the job at the Liberty Stadium with possible relegation to the Championship looming over us. How close we’ve been to the drop has got worse each year ever since then (with the exception of 2014/15), and an unwanted trend has emerged.
Michael Laudrup’s sacking in February 2014 – 24 games into the 2013/14 season saw the start of what’s now become something of the norm for Swansea City. A habit of sacking managers in the desperate need of a change of form to avoid falling – and staying in the bottom three.
Premier League table on Matchday 24, as the Swans lose at West Ham (already in the bottom 3) 2-0. The Swans might be in 12th place, but having just lost to a side in the relegation zone, they’re only 2 points ahead of the drop.
Garry Monk came in and of course got a 3-0 home win against our arch rivals Cardiff City. But it wasn’t a great revival from the rookie, in his first 10 games – which is the only comparison we can use to Carlos Carvalhal – he lost half of them, winning 2 and drawing 3. Goals – scored 16 and conceded 15. A points-per-game tally of 0.9 – that’s half of Carvalhal’s record so far after 10 games. It’s worth mentioning that the only other victory in those opening 10 was against Norwich City. Yet back then, we had arguably one of our best Premier League squads.
Monk’s first 10 games record
A rather poor record in his first 10 games – compared to the likes of Guidolin, Clement and Carvalhal, the Swans were still close to the bottom 3, with just a 3-point gap ahead of Fulham.
After our best ever league finish the following season, Monk is sacked after a poor start to the next – in December 2015. After Alan Curtis takes temporary charge, we finally find a replacement – bringing in Italian Francesco Guidolin, who watched on from the stands as we edged our a 1-0 home win against Watford.
After Monk’s final game in charge, the Premier League table looked like this:
After 15 games and just 3 wins, we were just a point above the drop-zone, with 14 points. As a comparison after 15 games, this season we had just 9 points, in 2016/17 we had 12 – so you can see a decline year-on-year.
Alan Curtis was in charge of 7 games before Guidolin’s appointment, winning 2, drawing 2 and losing 3.
Like Garry Monk, Guidolin got a win in his opening game, a 2-1 win and our first at Everton.
10 games later, the Swans built themselves a decent gap from the bottom three, 7 points ahead of 18th-placed Cardiff City with just 6 games to go.
Guidolin’s first 10 games record
Francesco Guidolin won 4 in his first 10, twice as many as Monk did and one less than Carvalhal has managed so far. A points-per-game average of 1.5, compared to Carvalhal’s impressive 1.8.
Guidolin is then sacked after just 7 games the following season and we replace him with Bob Bradley. Now we all know what happened there so it’s pointless looking at his hopeless stats in detail, but having said that – they weren’t much worse than Monk’s. The American also had 2 wins in his first 10, a points-per-game average of 0.8, scoring 14 goals, but our goals against was truly awful – 25 conceded.
Once again, we found ourselves struggling near the bottom of the table, here’s how it looked when Bob Bradley was shown the door:
Now, we’re actually in the bottom three when we’ve sacked a manager, and four points from safety – with just 12 points after 18 – coincidentally the same total we had after 18 games this season.
As a comparison, the graph below shows our points tally after 18 games in each Premier League season:
Clement’s first 10 games record
Like Carvalhal, Clement guided the Swans to 5 wins in his first 10 games, but lost the other 5. We scored 13 goals (one less than Bradley in his first 10), and conceded 18 goals. Not too bad considering the mess we were in when Bradley was sacked.
From being 4 points adrift of safety when Clement arrived, we were still in the bottom three, but we had cut the deficit in half to 2 points behind 17th-placed Hull, with just 7 games remaining.
Clement had a 1.3 points-per-game average in his first 10 games in charge.
The Premier League table after Clement’s first 10 games:
But here you see the pattern emerging. Manager recovers from the previous mess, keeps us up, fails the following season and repeat….for the next 3 seasons.
After 18 games, Clement is finally sacked, and here’s how the table looked with Carvalhal coming in. This time, we’re rock-bottom, 12 points again after 18 games and 4 from safety.
Considering the fact that Carvalhal inherited the worst squad we’ve ever had in the Premier League, and in the worst possible position, his record so far has been no less than remarkable to say the very least. Other managers before him that we’ve mentioned had the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andre Ayew and Fernando Llorente to score vital goals to help us edge out wins, but Carvalhal was tasked with improving us a team overall. He had to build up the entire team’s confidence again and give us a new dynamic, rather than looking and hoping from fresh inspiration from one or two key individuals.
So considering just how bad we’ve been all season, the worst squad we’ve had, no Sigurdsson and Llorente, it’s incredible to see the turnaround. The performances, confidence levels and results against some big teams. Going from rock-bottom and 4 points adrift with seemingly no hope of staying up, to getting up to the lofty heights now of 14th place with 31 points, and a decent 3-point gap from the drop-zone.
Carvalhal’s first 10 games record
With the worst squad, the only manager to win 5 games in his first 10 games, scoring 14 goals, and conceding just 11, losing only 2, a very impressive 1.8 points per game would equal 68 points over a full season.
There’s still a long way to go and some crucial games coming up, but Carvalhal has done an amazing job up until now. We could barely create a shot on target before he came in, scored zero goals in November and yet we’ve turned that into wins against the likes of top-7 sides Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley.
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